A flash about a dragon

Bamboo forest by Judy DarleyA dragon flies into a bar.

Ouch.

I’m thrilled that my story Flightless has not only been published on the Micro Madness website for National Flash Fiction Day NZ, but has been placed third in the Micro Madness competition!

The competition organisers asked if I mind it being read aloud at the festival events in New Zealand – of course I don’t mind, I only wish I could be there!

You can read it here.

Submit crime fiction to a Flash Bang contest

Pink water pistol cr Judy DarleyDid you know the phrase ‘flash in the pan’ originated with the priming of guns? I didn’t either before discovering the Flash Bang contest.

They’re seeking 150-word submissions of short crime fiction that packs a helluva punch, and emphasises the skill of flash fiction in utilising the skill of surprise and illumination in an artfully condensed package – one you may not wish to open without guidance from a bomb disposal squad.

Deadline for entries is midnight BST on 3rd March 2017.

Prizes of this writing contest

  • 1st prize is two weekend passes to CrimeFest 2018 (access to all interviews, panels and receptions, exc. accommodation, dinner, travel)
  • 2nd prize is one weekend pass to CrimeFest 2018
  • 3rd prize is a special CrimeFest delegate bag with books and other goodies

In addition to the above, all those on the shortlist will be invited to attend the Crime Writing Day on Friday 19 May 2017, when the winners will be announced.

Rules of this writing contest

Max 150 words. No minimum. Title not included in word count. One entry per person. £2 entry fee to cover admin, to be paid via PayPal. No entries from established crime authors, please. No other restrictions apply, but you’ll want to be able to attend CrimeFest in Bristol, UK, in May 2018 if you win.

Find full details of how to enter at flashbangcontest.wordpress.com/about-flashbang-2017/

The longlist will be published 7 April 2015. Shortlist will be published here 21 April. Winners will be announced at CrimeFest15, 14-17 May 2015. Good luck!

Flash Frontier wants your flash fiction

MINE grotto skylightFlash Frontier is a marvellous online journal of short fiction. Every month the editors invite submissions on a particular theme designed to get your creative nodes firing.  You can, as they say, “use the theme in any way you desire. Follow it as closely or broadly as you desire – the only stipulation is that your tale should “evoke the idea.”

Previous themes have included Science and Sky (my story Altitude appeared in the latter, along with some wonderful pieces from other writers.

The current call for submissions is for the February issue, and is on the theme Remnants. The deadline is January 31st 2017.

Now the important stuff. Your story must be no more than 250 words in length. This is crucial: 251 words will disqualify you.

Submissions are due by the last day of the month for the following month’s issue. Each issue will appear mid-month.

For full guidelines, themes and to read previous issues, visit www.flash-frontier.com.

Submit short stories on Change and Stasis

Windmill Hill City Farm pigs cr Judy DarleySubmissions are now open for issue #2 of The Ham Free Press. The themes for the issue are Change and Stasis – a great start to your writing year!

“The world, and its inhabitants, seem to be going through a period of profound change at the moment, physically, socially, and politically, and we want to explore the creative response to this change in our next issue,” say the editors. “On the other hand, we might be wrong, perhaps things aren’t changing that dramatically, perhaps things just happen in cycles, maybe we’ve been here before? Are there certain constants, unchanging and stable, whilst the world around us seems to transform?  We don’t know, we’re very confused, but we’re awfully excited to receive your submissions based on this prompt.”

Send up to three short stories or flash fictions up to a maximum of (4,000 words max for short stories, 1,000 max for flash fiction) and poems up to a maximum of 60 lines (the shorter the better). “We will accept up to five poems per submission and if we think they’re good enough we’ll publish them all, so go mad.”

Intriguingly, The Ham also accept any work of an epistolary nature, whether it be letters from readers, real life correspondence, “or fictional correspondence. Make us laugh, make us think, make us question our very existence.”

Send all submissions to thehamfreepress@gmail.com, but before you do so, take a moment to visit The Ham’s website and read the full submission guidelines.

Flight Journal seeks writing inspired by cities

Bilbao Bridge cr Judy DarleyFlight Journal is calling for short story writers to submit their micro fiction up to up to 500 words in length. The chosen writers will receive £25 and have their work professionally published.

The theme for the issue is The City: Isolation and/or Togetherness.

We would like to read a range of voices and tones, particularly those which can move or amuse (or both!). Everything else is left completely open for you as a writer to interpret,” say editors Marianne Tatepo, Sara Jafari and Shreeta Shah. “In some instances we may choose works that we would like to develop with the author through one-to-one conversations and edits. Please bear this in mind when submitting your stories.”

Rules

  • Published and unpublished writers are both welcome. Any genre or style is welcome.
  • Your work must be no more than 500 words long (the emphasis for Issue 3 is on micro fiction), and should not have been published before – on your personal blog, other websites, or in print.
  • Flight Journal accepts submissions written in English from anywhere in the world (however, you must have a UK bank account for payment).
  • Only one story per submission.
  • Your work must be submitted as a Word document.
  • Submissions will be judged ‘blind’ so please do not include any biographical information or your name within the text, or with your submission.

To enter please submit your story via Submittable by clicking here

The deadline is 31st October, 11.59pm (as in the last minute of that day).

I spotted this opportunity on the excellent Short Stops.

Book review – Songs Without Music by Tim Stevenson

Songs Without Music coverAuthor Tim Stevenson is a master of the final line, turning a tale on its head with a few carefully chosen words. Throughout his collection of “flash-fictions and curiosities” (what an enticing sub-head!), in just a single page or so Tim creates worlds that feel like close parallels to our own, where our own fate, and how to avoid (or embrace) it, is shown up in eerie technicolour. Human nature is spotlit and dissected, not only in the tales themselves, but through toying unsettlingly with our preconceptions, so that we’re caught off-step without even realising we’ve been led astray, as in Feral Oxide and in An Artist’s Impression.

I’m not a great devourer of sci-fi, but literary thought-provoking futuristic tales please me as much as any well-wrought fairytale, and Stevenson is particularly adept at these. Mother’s Milk is gorgeously chilling, ending with a satisfying pinch of justice, while The Mr Jones Emulator raises questions about what it is to be a person, while remaining a soothingly jolly read.

Continue reading

Flying Ant Day – a short story

Ant by Judy Darley

Disclaimer: This is not a flying ant.

Happy to say that my flash fiction tale Flying Ant Day has been published in A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed: 2016 National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology. Wonderful!

A Box of Stars Beneath the BedEven better, my tale is one of just 50 chosen from 500 entries. Woohoo! There are so many excellent writers on the list of those included. Definitely looking forward to reading the contributions from Jude Higgins, Diane Simmons, Jonathan Pinnock, KM Elkes and Jane Roberts.

I’ll be reading my tale as part of the National Flash Fiction Day celebrations in Bristol on Saturday, at At The Well on Cheltenham Road.

To get your copy, go to the Amazon page or visit the NFFD website, where you can also discover all kinds of events happening this National Flash Fiction Day (June 25th, in case you were wondering!).

Flash Fiction Day celebrations in Bristol

Pero's Bridge cr Judy DarleyNational Flash Fiction Day happens on Saturday 25th June 2016, celebrating literature in its briefest forms from dribbles to drabbles and beyond. There will be events erupting across the UK, but the hotspot is in Bristol, with three fab events to mark the fourth official day of Bristol Flash.

In the morning from 10.30am until midday, you can take part in a Flash Walk around Bristol’s harbour area, with site-specific flashes being read by trained actors along the route. Until 9th June, you’re invited to submit stories between 40 and 400 words for the chance to hear your words included on the trail. Find details here and here.

In the afternoon from 13-30-16:30), there will be a flash fiction workshop at Bristol Central Library led by award-winning writers Alison Powell and Ken Elkes. Find details here.

From 7pm that evening at At the Well on Cheltenham Road, Bristol, you can settle in for a mass of flash readings from local and not-so-local writers, including Alison Powell, Calum Kerr, Diane Simmons, Freya Morris, Jude Higgins, Ken Elkes, Kevlin Henney, Pete Sutton, Tim Stevenson, Tino Prinzi, Tom Parker, and me! Find details here. Find details here.

Every event is free to attend, and designed to inspire, amuse, disquiet and enthral you, all in the name of flash fiction!

Savages – a short story

Field by Judy DarleyI’m thrilled to let you know that my short tale Savages has been published in issue three of Ink In Thirds magazine.

This beautiful publication describes itself as ‘a magazine of poised prose, precarious poetry, and photography that makes us want to pilot our own realms again.’

Inspired by the wilderness of childhood, including glimpses from my own, I’m glad my tale has found a home here.

Read issue three of Ink in Thirds magazine here.

The opening line of Savages is:

The field has been scalped; sharp spikes are all that remain of the wheat that whispered here, green stems that leaned with the wind and hissed tickling promises as we drifted by on our way to school.

The Moth Room – a short story

Moth wings cr Judy DarleyMy very short story The Moth Room has been published in issue 21 of Gone Lawn, which describes itself as “a web journal of artistic and progressive literature.” What a lovely home for my tale!

Inspired by a visit to the studio of artist Rose McLay, my flash fiction draws strands of Cinderella together with a touch of moonlit iridescence.

Click here for a read.

The opening line is: He follows her home from the ball, trailing in the pitch of her laughter: bright as glass, bleak as snow.